LOS ANGELES (AP) — A jury of six men and six women was accepted by both sides on Monday for the trial of a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the mother of Michael Jackson against AEG concert promoters.
Lawyers immediately began questioning prospects to sit as alternate jurors.
The jury was seated a week after a pool of more than 100 candidates was assembled. Many prospects were eliminated because they said serving on a three-month trial would be a hardship.
Others were excused for cause when they said they had a bias against Jackson or disapproved of big-figure lawsuits. Others were rejected because they had business ties to AEG or the Jackson family.
Jackson’s mother, Katherine Jackson, filed the case on behalf of herself and her son’s three children. Their attorneys have pegged the potential damages at $40 billion, but jurors will have to determine any amount the family might receive.
The lawsuit claims AEG, the company that promoted the ill-fated “This is It” concert, hired Dr. Conrad Murray as Jackson’s physician without checking his credentials. Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of the superstar from an overdose of the anesthetic propofol.
Coincidentally, his lawyer filed an appeal on Monday of his criminal conviction.
The jury was selected ahead of time estimates. Lawyers were aided by a long questionnaire filled out by jury prospects that sought their views on Jackson and his famous family along with his life and death, and their feelings about multimillion dollar jury verdicts.
The civil case will focus on the pop singer’s possible role in his own demise. Witnesses will also testify about his troubled finances and whether AEG wielded too much influence over a cash-strapped Murray by offering him $150,000 a month for his job as Jackson’s doctor during the concert tour.
Neither AEG nor Jackson had signed Murray’s contract before the singer died.
Some evidence excluded from Murray’s trial, including Jackson’s financial and medical records, could be used in the civil case, possibly offering new insight into the singer’s life before his death on June 25, 2009, at the age of 50.
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